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IBM rolls out development tool for nonprogrammers

New tool allows users to build online forms without IT department, IBM says

By Heather Havenstein
May 16, 2007 12:00 PM ET

IBM on Wednesday announced a new Web application development tool that can help users without technical skills develop online forms for automating common manual tasks like collecting and analyzing information.

The new tool, IBM Development Engagement Service (DevEngage), is now available without charge as a hosted service on IBM's AlphaWorks site. The AlphaWorks site provides users with access to emerging technologies and provides IBM with their feedback.

DevEngage was developed at IBM's Haifa Research Laboratory in Israel.

"This is ideal for a small or medium-size business, both for the developer who has to handle these requests in a queue and a business user who is waiting to hear back if their application is ready," said Cynthya Peranandam, emerging technology strategist at AlphaWorks. "If you're the business user, you don't have to actually submit a request to the developer, [and] if you are the developer or IT department, now you don't have to worry about as many items."

The browser-based tool will be familiar to business users of word processing applications, she added. It only requires that users to drag and drop objects to build online forms. Peranandam suggested that users will take less time building a form using the tool that they previously took writing a requirements document for IT.

Users can develop the form using any Internet browser, Peranandam said, and the tool uses a series of wizard pages to let a user specify details like an application name, behavior and look and feel, she added. After the user defines the application, it is submitted to the tool's Java-based back end, where it is built and made available to the user at a URL.

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